Hundreds including Rev. Al Sharpton and film director Spike Lee gathered at the Apollo Monday afternoon to honor deceased pop king Michael Jackson.
Calling Jackson a “genius” and an “innovator” Sharpton led the crowd in a moment of silence at exactly 5:26 p.m., the east coast time Jackson was declared dead last week Thursday.
EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: APOLLO THEATER HOSTS TRIBUTE TO THE KING OF POP
Lee, who directed both music videos for Jackson’s song “They Don’t Really Care About Us”– one set in Brazil, the other in prison–partied with the celebratory crowd.
Lee danced and took pictures of the hundreds who filled the historic Harlem theater, some of whom had waited five hours just to get into the venue.
Fans came carrying posters, wearing Jackson t-shirts, white gloves and black fedoras. They left behind bouquets of flowers, stuffed animals, and handwritten notes that covered the lower part of the Apollo stage.
It was in August 1967 on that same stage that nine-year-old Jackson performed alongside his four older brothers. Known then as the Jackson Brothers, they won the Apollo’s signature show “Amateur Night.”
Today in honor of Jackson the Harlem theatre will host a tribute to Jackson during tonight’s Amateur night scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.